The current shortage of nurses across the U.S. can be traced in part to the lack of training opportunities for aspiring nurses and not to a lack of people seeking to pursue nursing as a career.

Last year U.S. nursing programs rejected nearly 80,000 qualified applicants because they did not have the capacity train them.

Driving this problem are three major challenges.

First is the lack of nursing school faculty:  nearly 2000 full-time faculty positions remain unfilled, and many part-time positions as well, a problem caused by low salaries; working nurses often earn much more than nursing instructors.  Another complication:  lack of candidates with the academic credentials most nursing programs seek from faculty members.

Second is the lack of positions in which to place nursing students for the on-the-job training aspect of their nursing education.

And third is the lack of appropriate nursing preceptors:  people qualified to oversee nursing students during their on-the-job training.

So while hospitals and medical practices suffer from a lack of qualified nurses and even resort to costly agency nurses to fill essential positions, there appears to be a strong supply of people ready to fill those vacancies.  Now, the schools need to find a way to turn those aspiring nurses into practicing nurses.

Learn more about the nursing shortage and the challenges involved in addressing it from the CNN report “Nursing schools are turning away thousands of applicants during a major nursing shortage.  Here’s why.”